Adding Fuel To The Fiers

This is the week of talking about pitchers who we have written off for dead and are making comebacks to make us suddenly consider them in 12-teamers. Mike Fiers is raising eyebrows...

This is the week of talking about pitchers who we have written off for dead and are making comebacks to make us suddenly consider them in 12-teamers. Mike Fiers is raising eyebrows and after his 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks start last night against the Athletics, he’s now boasting a 2.14 ERA across his last seven starts. Of course I expected to dig into this and find all the numbers to tell me he’s bad but…he’s…not?! Sure it’s with a 5.7% HR/FB rate that leads to a 4.22 xFIP and if you want that as your one reason not to pick him up, I’m totally cool with that. But it’s also a 3.34 FIP, .298 BABIP, 80.5% LOB Rate and – here’s the best part: identical 21.3% Soft/Hard contact. That’s legit. He’s reduced his Four-Seamer usage for more Two-Seamers, which has been his best pitch during the stretch, and there’s something kinda here. The strikeouts will come and go – 8 strikeouts some games, 3 the next – but if you need Wins and someone to compete with Quality Starts, Fiers could help short term with his 6 IPS. Have a short leash but I’m starting him against the A’s next time out.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Jeff Hoffman – 3.2 IP, 9 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Here I was planning to lead with Hoffman and Fiers just ruins everything. And I’m not even a pyro. I’m sure you’re all incredibly disappointed with this one, but this really wasn’t a start to be made. The Diamondbacks in Coors? We don’t start the heavy majority in Coors and while Hoffman has been great, I’m not starting him against a strong offense at home. But you rank Hoffman highly on The List! Definitely, and he’d be higher if he didn’t have to be in Coors so often. For example, I absolutely adore his next start in San Franciscio and think he can be an absolute stud there. I’d maybe even risk him pitching against the Dbacks again in Coors Lite. Maybe. But I wouldn’t be too reactionary to this outing (well, two disappointing starts now) and keep the faith next time against the Giants.

Max Scherzer – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Y’all know he got the loss too as he was throwing a no-hitter into the eighth. And tossed 121 pitches. And you guys are going to demand he get placed at #1 on Monday. If you do believe that, I highly suggest listening to tonight’s Podcast. Fast and I are going to have with that one.

Jose Berrios – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. I feel so tempted to give him AGA, but I can’t for a few reasons. 1) It’s just eight starts. 2) his HR/FB is super low at 6.9% and his 4.27 xFIP is going to show up to some degree. 3) His .227 BABIP just can’t stick around. 4) Oh god I’m terrible at golf. I think Berrios is a pitcher who can get better as the luck fades that will keep him with a sub 3.50 ERA and strikeouts above the 8.00 mark – even hint at a K per inning – but I need more time before we can get there.

Carlos Carrasco – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. That’s two straight dominating outings and we can all be super happy with our life choices owning Carrasco.

Dan Straily – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I’ve had a tumultous relationship with Straily, but I really need to give him more credit. 9.21 K/9 and 2.89 BB/9 is no joke – just three walks in his last five starts – and this outing was against the Nationals. A top 40 spot might be in store and it’s crazy how real that is.

Sean Newcomb – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Huh. Four Ks + BBs just isn’t right for Newcomb. He got the Giants, who are one of the weaker offenses around, and I still don’t want to jump on this Spice Girl like Beckham. I don’t blame you if you’re on board, I just worry about his lack of good third pitch and history of poor walk rates.

Nick Pivetta – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. My oh my! Pivetta bringing out the big guns for the second start in a row. I led with Pivetta last time detailing that I’m not ready to jump on board in a 12-teamer, but I do like to see that he’s favoring his Four-Seamer exclusively now, which led to nine of his 15 whiffs, and had 15 called strikes in 67 thrown. That’s 24 of 67 heaters that weren’t touched and got strikes. I’m not confident enough in his secondary pitches just yet – his Slider is easily his best one but comes in around 82mph without a huge amount of bite – but there are worse fliers out there.

Jeff Samardzija – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. I feel like I need a term for Braces and Happ who have these absurd high K + 0 BB starts but with 3+ ER attached to them. I guess that is a Dusty Donut but it’s more like he was super dominant but made two mistakes. Which led to a pair of longballs for all three ER. Which is super frustrating to watch. Maybe Longballin‘? He’s doing super well but the longballs keep his ERA higher than it should be. Happ, Pineda, Samardzija are all in that group for now. Let’s see if this sticks.

Rich Hill – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. This is the first time in major league history that a pitcher hasn’t recorded an out in the sixth inning. Hmmmm, that doesn’t sound good for fantasy baseball.

Justin Verlander – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. He was perfect through five innings with 11 Ks, then Jarrod Dyson bunted for a base hit. NOT COOL DYSON.

Erasmo Ramirez – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I’m a little upset to see Ramirez do well as it means we may not see so much of Faria once Andriese returns. I hope that doesn’t happen but it’s something to consider.

Drew Pomeranz – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I will take this and love it. He’s a step up from a Toby but not a proper anchor, you know?

Miguel Diaz – 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. He left this game with a right forearm strain so…yeah. Not like you owned him anyway and I’m sure someone else you’ve never heard of will take his place. Looking forward to that. Okay, it may be Dillon Overton, who you may have of. Or Craig Stammen. Probably not Stammen. Why are you wasting your time? That’s a very good question.

Jordan Montgomery – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Just one more out. Please Bear (JorMont), PLEASE. For those wondering, yes he still got a ton of whiffs – 17 in 97 – so that elite whiff rate is only rising. Please be on all of my teams, k thx.

Trevor Williams – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey look at Williams. Okay, enough of that.

Kevin Gausman – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. This is one of the best starts of Gausman’s 2017 season. Even if he had just four Ks it would still carry that label. It’s been a bad year and I’m not forgetting that yet.

Sean Manaea – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. This was a VPQS where Manaea got Singled Out. Seriously, all seven hits were Singles and his three ER came from five in the sixth. So close from being a stud start…Why is Manaea in the Top 20?! Because he has a 10.15 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, 3.00 ERA, 3.13 FIP with a 6.5 IPS and over 7 Ks per start across his last six outings – and that includes the Astros, Yanks twice, Indians, Jays, and Rays. Well hot damn. It would be remiss to not mention his 38.4% hard contact and 12.1% soft contact in that time as well, though, so there is some worry that his .292 BABIP isn’t high enough.

Taijuan Walker – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. Now this reads like a Walker start of old when his walk rate was terrible. I still have my concerns about Walker inside Coors Lite and I don’t think this strikeout upside will be around often enough to make you forget it.

Eddie Butler – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I really hope he gets the boot and Montgomery sticks when Hendricks comes back.

Ian Kennedy – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Bleeeeeegh. Don’t own Kennedy.

Junior Guerra – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. Man those five walks are killer in this VVVVVPQS. At least you got a K per inning too? Don’t love Guerra and wouldn’t be starting him against the Reds.

Tim Adleman – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. There’s the Adleman I know and hate…wait. No. Seven Ks are not supposed to be here. Did you guys get lost?

Tyson Ross – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. I’m going to group these next two together as they faced each other and I wanted both of them to be better. Ross had a horrendous first inning and continued throwing Four-Seamers instead of Two-Seamers. He also only threw 10.8% Sliders. He went 5/17 in First-Pitch Strikes. At least his velocity was a full tick higher to 90.7mph? I’m super worried and so should you.

Joe Biagini – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I was labeling this start as a “make-or-break” outing as a rebound would be a major indication for the Blue Jays to keep him in the rotation, but if he faltered then they would have an easy out. 4 ER is kinda on the fence, but if you watched this game, he actually didn’t pitch too badly. Two HRs including a double-turned-inside-the-park-homerun from Gallo did most of the damage and his replacement allowed his baserunner to score with two outs. I really hope he sticks because I do believe he has the skill set to be a consistent floor guy that’s above a Toby. Worst part about this is that he gets the Red Sox and Astros next, which could be more trouble and a super easy demotion. Feel free to drop for now as you can’t start him there. Streamer Record 40-25-10.

Tyler Pill – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Tyler is a tough Pill to swallow. Yeah, sorry for that. It could have been Matrix stuff instead, so be thankful for that.

James Paxton – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Pax was doing great until he wasn’t. What a story, Nick. Velocity was it’s highest since May and fourth highest of the season, better command of pitches and had 15 whiffs as he faced an all fight-handed lineup. I think we can put our worries at the wayside now.

David Holmberg – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. David just isn’t going to slay the Goliath that is major league hitting.

Ricky Nolasco – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. There are two certain things in life, Death and Taxes. And Nolasco being bad for your fantasy team. That’s three things. YOU’RE THREE THINGS.

Michael Wacha – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. No injury here, just Wacha not being good. I think he’s becoming closer to a Panda now instead of a Toby, especially if he labors through a start against the Phillies. Feel free to drop him and not chase his start against the Reds.

Today’s Streamer

Mike Clevinger vs. Baltimore Orioles – I’m not sure why there’s confusion about this start, it seems pretty clear it’s Clevinger and not Danny Salazarright? Anyway, roll with Clev as he would be owned in all 12-teamers if there were more clarity about his security in the rotation. I’d also consider Sean Newcomb against the Giants, but there is a lower floor there.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Mike Pelfrey vs Oakland Athletics – I feel like I’m taking crazy pills recommending Pelfrey, but he gets Oakland and there are few options to choose from + he’s allowed a total over 7 ER in his six starts. Obviously not one I want to roll with and I’d go Seth Lugo instead, but he’s over my 25% threshold now. Womp womp.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Daniel Gossett vs. Chicago White Sox – This is crazy but there’s no one else. No, I’m not starting Anibal against the Padres. 12-Teamers, don’t do this.

Game of the Day

Aaron Nola vs. Carlos Martinez – CarMart gets to feast on the Phils and I always enjoy watching Nola. Please live to your potential Nola, it’s one of the prettier things to watch in baseball.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

24 responses to “Adding Fuel To The Fiers”

  1. Jimmy says:

    What did you think of Verlander’s start yesterday? Did he look back to normal to you?

    His stuff was working incredibly well through 5 IP and then he got screwed over by a bunt single, a borderline ball 4 in a full count, and the Tigers defense botching an easy pop fly.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think this was the start we needed to see to allow us to start him with confidence moving forward.

      • Jimmy says:

        It’s still early in the week, but how do you think that start affect’s Verlander’s in your top 100 SPs ranking

        • Nick Pollack says:

          Can’t say just yet, but mid-to-low 30s sounds right for now. The whole range from Pineda-Verlander is about finding someone to stick and this is certainly encouraging.

  2. Soggy Arm says:

    Is giving up Conforto for Samardzija an equitable deal?12-teamer.

  3. Matt says:

    What is AGA?

  4. Manley Ramirez says:

    Raise to a 33% ownership threshold for streamers? Agree 50% is probably too high to be helpful to readers but 25% may leave too few viable options for you to choose from on many days.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      True, I was thinking that a bit, though I’ve been doing sub 25% so far this year and it’s worked for the most part.

      What I’ll do is if there is a pitcher I don’t like under 25%, I’ll bring up someone just above it instead.

  5. tim says:

    What’s Montgomery’s outlook for the ROS? I got offered Longoria straight up and I am in need of a 3B but it’s a points league so pitching is at a premium. Montgomery is by no means my ace but he’s been solid for a while now.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      As of now, he’s not expected to last long in the rotation and will be moved out once Hendricks returns (I’m hoping Butler gets the axe instead, but for now it’s Monty).

      He’s still a case-by-case starter and far from a “start against all but the worst matchups” starter. If it’s a sizable points jump to start Longoria, I’d make the swap.

  6. SK says:

    Hi Nick, The latest Hitters List article isn’t working. Can you fix it? Thanks!

  7. David says:

    Nick, may I please have your permission to drop Gsellman for really anyone?

  8. Dave says:

    Nick….I hear Jon Gray may be back next week….drop Hoffman for Gray?

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